Loving Your Body in the Time of College

Love Your Body week is here, and since I stole a cupcake from one of their events, I feel sort of obligated to give this some thought.

Do I love my body? That’s kind of a difficult question for any girl, or for anyone for that matter. My feelings towards my body change daily; they depend on my mood, what I’m wearing, how much sleep I’ve gotten, and whether or not I had that extra bowl of fries for lunch.

Is it possible to love my body and want to change it at the same time? I haven’t decided that one quite yet, but I do have a laundry list of things I’d like to change—I’d like to go the gym more, I’d like to eat less junk food—seriously though, my waffle fry addiction is out of control—I’d like to drink less sugary things. My late night eating habits (Deli Q, anyone?) aren’t great, but if I’m being honest, it’s always worth it.

I’ve been trying to eat healthier this semester, and for the most part I’ve been sticking to it, but one has to ask, how many pieces of plain chicken can one person eat? How many salads to I have to make before I stop caring?

My flippancy doesn’t mean that I don’t spend copious amounts of time in front of the mirror, or that my appearance means nothing to me. I have, admittedly, put on sneakers and workout clothes on days I haven’t gone to the gym just so I have an “excuse” not to wear makeup or put on real, grown-up clothes. So then I can subconsciously tell people—this isn’t what I really look like, this is just what I look like when I come from the gym, as if there’s some significant difference. But while looking pretty and wearing the right clothes may mean a lot to me, it’s not everything—or at least, I try not to let it be everything.

The times I love my body most are when I’m productive, physically or mentally. Whether I’m churning out a paper or walking a 60-kilometer pilgrimage, running around in the backyard with my nephew, or wrapping up an issue of the newspaper, accomplishing things and feeling capable gives me a kind of self-confidence that means more than anything I could ever get from looking in the mirror—or from eating a bowl of salad.